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Ear, nose & throat (ENT) surgery

Expert treatment for Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) conditions

The ENT (ear, nose, and throat) clinic at Albyn sees people with all kinds of ear, nose, and throat conditions.

The commonest things we will see patients for are:

  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus.

People may also have problems with sore ears or discharge coming from the ears.

When patients come to see us, we will take a full history of their condition. We will then perform an examination of the ears, both with a handheld torch (called an Otoscope), and a more detailed examination with a microscope. The latter allows us to get a magnified view of the inside of the ear.

We will need to get a hearing test organised; some people will have already had this done perhaps through their GP or via our own private audiology service. By the time the patient comes to see us, we then have this information to hand, which makes the consultation more efficient.

If the patient has problems with dizziness and poor balance, we will do some balance tests, to see how well they perform and how good their balance control is. Occasionally, we will send them for more detailed tests, which may be done by a different provider.

Sometimes, we need to do some imaging – including scans of the head and the ear if we’re worried about problems in the inner ear.

If someone presents with hearing loss just in one ear, or they have tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in one ear, we will want to exclude some rare conditions, including something called an acoustic neuroma – which are benign tumours that grow on the hearing nerve.

You can only pick those up by doing a scan (MRI), says our ENT Surgeon; they’re rare, but if someone has hearing loss in one ear, we want to make sure there isn’t something pressing on the nerve that is causing that hearing loss.

We would then request an MRI scan.

For tinnitus that affects both ears, we can discuss possible causes with the patient, such as if they have been exposed to noise, had any recent ear infections, or an injury to the ear.

Then we would get a hearing test and we would discuss with them how intrusive the tinnitus is. We can then share with them some simple advice on how to manage it.

We generally reassure patients that, over time, the brain does start to adapt to the noise – this can be helped by adopting various strategies, such as listening to music, or using a white noise generator, which you can put under your pillow.

Patients with hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid, and we would get them to discuss this with our Audiologist. It can also help manage the symptoms of tinnitus.

Excessive ear wax can also cause hearing loss – and we can look at patients presenting with this symptom here in clinic. If the ears are blocked, we can use a microscope and remove the wax using a suction instrument.  

We also see the same problems, as outlined above, in children.

Some children present with deafness, often related to a condition called “glue ear”, where fluid gets trapped in the ear in young children.

This causes reduced hearing, and we will go through the same consultation process; while we don’t currently operate on children – they will go to the NHS children’s hospital – we can assess them here at Albyn Hospital. 

The commonest nose complaint people present with is a blocked nose; there are lots of different reasons for this. This could be:

  • There is something squint or bent in the nose (in particularly something called the nasal septum – a bony and cartilage partition between our two nostrils). This can be examined in clinic and sometimes our Consultant will use an endoscope to have a look. If there’s a bent septum, we can discuss the option of surgery, to straighten the septum.
  • There is a blockage, due to a swollen lining inside the nose. This is called rhinitis and can cause a blocked and runny nose; everyone experiences this when they have a cold, but that tends to pass after a few days. If you have a chronically congested nose, you may have allergies. If it’s in the summer, we call that hay fever; if it’s all year round, it could be an allergy to animals or dust.

We also see people with:

  • Broken noses – We see people who’ve had an injury to the nose and would like it corrected via rhinoplasty (also known as a ‘nose job’), for cosmetic reasons or because the function of the nose has been compromised. We also see children with blocked noses, and children (particularly of primary school age children) also get swollen adenoids, which sit at the very back of the nose.
  • Sinusitis – This condition causes inflammation of the lining of the nose, and the lining of the sinuses. Patients will experience a blocked and runny nose, but they may also experience nasal polyps, where they get a swollen lining developing inside the nose. The polyps (or swellings) block the nose, cause it to run, and can affect the patient’s sense of smell. Treatments include steroid medicines in the form of sprays, drops or tablets, to try to shrink the polyps. Occasionally, the patient may need surgery to remove the polyps.

The main problems involving the throat include:

  • Sore throat – Most people will go to their Pharmacist or GP for advice on sore throats. However, if a sore throat continues or is a recurring problem, we will see them and take a detailed history and examine their throat by shining a light into the back of it. If we need to look further down into their throat, we’ll use a fibre optic endoscope, which examines the throat, including the voice box and vocal cords. This is done in the outpatient clinic and does not require any anaesthetic. Older children may also tolerate this simple and quick examination.
  • Tonsillitis – This predominantly affects children, but it does affect adults too. We may ask the patient how unwell they are during an episode, if it is affecting their work and daily activities; this will impact whether we talk to them about removal of the tonsils, which is a day-case procedure performed under a general anaesthetic
  • Hoarseness (changes in the voice) – This is important if your work involves speaking a lot. Not only do sufferers get annoyed by it, because it affects their ability to speak to people and do their job properly; sometimes they worry that it might represent a growth on their voice box. We will, again, take them through their medical history and examine them, using the fibre optic endoscope, to check there is nothing sinister going on.
  • Difficulty swallowing – Patients may feel that food sticks when they’re eating, or they have pain when they swallow. We go through the same process of examining them and hopefully reassuring them when things look okay. Further tests may be required if an explanation cannot be found.
  • Lump/swelling in the neck – Patients will want to know what’s causing this, so we will ask them all about it, feel the lump, assess where it is, its size, its shape, if it is sore, and assess if there is just one or more lumps. We may do an ultrasound scan of the lump, or we may arrange a fine needle aspiration (FNA), where we insert a needle into the lump and aspirate some cells for analysis in the lab. It’s performed in clinic and it’s a small needle; it’s just like getting blood taken but the needle goes into the lump, instead of the vein.

Our ENT specialist will take a full medical history and ask you about your symptoms and how they are affecting your day-to-day life. You may need to be put forward for some investigations (as outlined in the various sections above) and our Consultant offers a patient-centred approach to your treatment, to ensure the best outcome for you.

Patients like coming to the hospital, because it’s relatively central to the city and it has good parking. Staff are welcoming and the hospital prides itself on having extremely high standards of cleanliness.

Below is an at-a-glance look at some of the reasons you might choose Albyn Hospital for ENT conditions:

  • Reduced waiting times – Patients who visit Albyn Hospital can benefit from shorter waiting times than they would if, say, they were to pursue treatment on the NHS.
  • Flexible appointments at a time to suit you – You can choose an appointment time to suit you and your schedule – and in some cases, remote consultations will be offered.
  • Consultant-led appointments – Your appointment will always be Consultant-led, and you’ll see the same person each time you visit. You will also see a Consultant who has a special interest in your problem – and if investigations or surgery is required, most can be done at the Albyn Hospital. For your convenience, consultations can be either face-to-face or telephone based.
  • Patient satisfaction and personalised care – In an independent survey* in 2020, 98.9% of our patients said they would recommend the hospital and its treatments.

We tend to see patients from the north east of Scotland, the north of Scotland and the northern isles. Patients come from as far away as Shetland and Orkney. On the mainland, they will come from as far away as Wick, at the top of Scotland.

Some come from Inverness and Dundee too.

For anyone considering an ENT consultation at Albyn, our Consultant ENT and Head and Neck Surgeon offers several slots at his clinic – and you can book an appointment online.

Specialists offering Ear, nose & throat (ENT) surgery

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Mr Panos Asimakopoulos

Consultant ENT / Head and Neck Surgeon


Albyn Hospital

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Mr Clive Brewis

Consultant ENT Surgeon


Albyn Hospital

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Mr Bhaskar Ram

Consultant Otolaryngologist


Albyn Hospital

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Miss Sangeeta Kapur Maini

Consultant ENT Surgeon


Albyn Hospital

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Mr Akhtar Hussain

Consultant Otolaryngologist and Head & Neck Surgeon


Albyn Hospital

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